Windows Media Player 12, which comes pre-installed with Windows 7, allows you to share your music over your home network. This allows anyone who is connected to the same local network as you to access your songs, videos and other multimedia. Setup is quick and easy and requires no “hacking” whatsoever.
Launch Windows Media Player 12. In the Library view, click the Stream button near the top of the window. Choose “Turn on media streaming with HomeGroup.”
At this point, Windows 7 will ask you to enable media streaming, if you haven’t already. To do so, read the security warning carefully and click “Turn on media streaming.”
In the next window, name your media library in the field along the top. Use something that uniquely identifies your computer. For example, “MyLaptop” or “LivingRoomComputer.”
Click “Allow All.” This will allow all machines on your home network to connect to your computer and access your shared music. If you want to limit who has access to your multimedia library, change the settings individually for each device listed in the menu below.
Now, your music will be available to other computers connected to the same home network as yours. However, they may not be able to see your computer if they aren’t displaying remote media libraries. To show remote media libraries, do the following on the machine that will be accessing your shared content.
Launch Windows Media Player 12. Click on Organize and choose “Customize navigation pane…”
Choose “Other Libraries” from the drop-down menu.
Check “Show Other Libraries” and any of the remote libraries that are listed in the pane above it.
Scroll down to “Other Libraries” in the navigation pane in Windows Media Player 12. You’ll see the remote computer’s music below.
While Windows Media Player 12 is careful to limit access to only your music library, this does open up potential security threats. To avoid opening your system up to hacking attempts from strangers, make sure you turn off Windows Media Player 12 streaming via the home network whenever you are connected to a public wireless connection or are connected via mobile broadband. To add an additional layer of security, make sure you setup a password on your home wireless network or otherwise restrict access to those in your household.
Also note that the computer with the shared music library must be connected to the network in order for other computers to access its media. However, both computers can play back video or audio at the same time without causing a conflict.